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Saudi authorities scrutinise drainage projects

Flash flooding aftermath gives pause for thought to authorities

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Jeddah like many cities in the region lacks adequate drainage systems. (GETTY)
Jeddah like many cities in the region lacks adequate drainage systems. (GETTY)

Following last week’s flash floods in Jeddah that killed four people with three others missing, specialist teams are said to be reviewing the way sanitary and storm-water drainage projects in the city worth a potential SR6 billion (US$1.6 billion) in contracts are carried out, a source told the Saudi Gazette.

Teams from the General Auditing Bureau (GAB) and the Control and Investigation Board are making this urgent move in the aftermath of the disaster caused by Wednesday's rain, the paper reported the source as saying.

The source also said that teams from both organisations began their field work along with specialist engineers to scrutinise contracts signed by the ministries of Water and Electricity and Municipal and Rural Affairs.

The source told the paper that engineers and specialists confirmed in 2005, that a contractor received two projects totalling SR4 billion ($1 billion) for executing networks in Jeddah and was due to complete them in 2008, but they had not been finished.

In the last three years, officials have signed drainage-related contracts worth SR6 billion ($1.6 billion), the source added.

The Saudi Gazette found that a GAB report issued earlier disclosed that the state treasury had lost millions of riyals in public funds, in addition to the loss of time, since the beginning of work on sanitary drainage projects in northern and central Jeddah because those in charge have not completed the projects.

The paper also found that the GAB report confirmed that the contractor had progressed through the projects very slowly with delays reaching a total of 26 months during the first 10 months of the contract.

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